Five tips for the day of the bar exam

By Ashley Heidemann

Ashley Heidemann is the owner and founder of JD Advising, a law school and bar exam prep company offering services ranging from LSAT tutoring and application assistance to bar exam tutoring, courses and seminars.


Getting ready for exam day? Here are five tips to keep in mind the day of the bar exam.

1. Get mentally prepared for the bar exam.

One of the best ways to boost your bar exam score is to make sure you are mentally prepared on the day of the bar exam.

You may find meditation helpful. Or you may find it helpful to say positive affirmations to yourself. Many students also find visualization to be a great tool. In order to practice visualization, imagine the testing center in as much detail as possible and picture yourself answering questions with a clear head and in a calm manner.

Mentally preparing for the bar exam can go a long way in helping you stay positive and ultimately improving your bar exam score.

2. Dress appropriately – and wear layers!

Make sure to closely read your jurisdiction’s rules for what you can – and cannot – wear to the testing center. Some jurisdictions prohibit wristwatches, hoods or coats. It is important to know ahead of time what you are permitted to wear so you are not rushing around at the last minute or forced to remove any clothing.

It is also a good idea to wear layers to the testing center because many testing centers tend to be cold. So, you should prepare accordingly by wearing long sleeves and shoes with socks (rather than sandals).

Make sure to also wear comfortable clothes. Do not wear anything that will irritate or distract you during the exam.  Some students prefer to dress up so they feel more confident taking the exam – and this can be beneficial! But make sure whatever you ultimately choose to wear is also comfortable.

3. Get your materials ready ahead of time.

Make sure you have whatever you need to get through the exam. Items you might bring include your admissions ticket, identification, ear plugs, pens, pencils, a water bottle and your laptop and charger. Make sure to carefully read your jurisdiction’s list of permitted and prohibited items.

Having everything ready to go ahead of the bar exam will allow you to focus on the test on the days of the exam.

4. Avoid situations which may increase anxiety.

Bar exam takers tend to be nervous and panicked. Anxiety spreads quickly during the exam. If you are prone to anxiety, it is a good idea to bring ear plugs to the exam in order to minimize distractions. It is also a good idea to avoid discussing exam questions with other test takers. This tends to increase anxiety and panic as students often do not answer bar exam questions in the same way. The best thing to do is avoid this kind of conversation altogether! We recommend socializing with friends or family members who are not taking the bar exam. That way, you can maintain a positive mindset throughout the exam.

5. Reward yourself.

A nice dinner, vacation, or celebration is certainly warranted post-bar exam! Not only do you deserve a treat for all of your hard work, but having something to look forward to after the bar exam will help you stay positive during the bar exam. It will also help decrease anxiety as it will help you keep the bar exam in perspective—at the end of the day, it is just an exam.

The bar exam is a challenging and daunting endeavor. A post-bar exam celebration is the least you can do to reward yourself for your hard work.

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